“Meh” — Another New Word to Use (or Not)

Over in Britain, Collins English Dictionary has chosen to include the word “Meh” in its new dictionary to be published next year in celebration of the publisher’s 30th anniversary.

According to TimesOnline, “Meh” beat out several other words, including Jargonaut (a fan of jargon), frenemy (an enemy disguised as a friend) and huggles (a combination of hugs and snuggles) to capture a place in the Collins Dictionary.

“Meh” started out in the US and Canada as an interjection signifying mediocrity or indifference and has evolved, via the internet and an episode of The Simpsons TV show, into a common adjective meaning boring, apathetic or unimpressive in British English. Compilers of the dictionary said the word spread through the Intenet and is now entering British spoken English.

It seems that in the Simpsons episode, Homer was trying to get the kids away from the TV by suggesting a day trip and both kids just replied “meh” and kept watching TV. When he asks again, Lisa says, “We said MEH! — MEH, meh!”

Living as I do in the US and never having been a fan of The Simpsons, I’d not heard the word nor seen it before today. Just looking at the letters, “Meh” seems to me to be more a sound than a real word.

Sources say “Meh” can be used as an interjection to suggest indifference or boredom, or as an adjective to say something is mediocre or that a person is unimpressed.

On blogs in the US and Britain, an amazing number of people seem to have welcomed the word into their vocabulary and many are quite vocal in their defense of “Meh.” There have been some detractors. On a site called izreloaded.blogspot.com, someone named Yan said:

The dictionary will say that meh can be used as an interjection to suggest indifference or boredom – or as an adjective to say something is mediocre or a person is unimpressed.
Hmmm. I’m so umimpressed with MEH as an English word.”

Commenting on “Meh” on Topix.com, a blogger named Filabaster in Las Vegas said this:

That’s a completely ridiculous addition! Just like all of those blokes who put Harry Potter words in the dictionary! I hate these people! You stupid Americans! Britain is better than you at everything.”

And also commenting on Izreloaded.blogspot.com, another bloger who calls himself Sir Thomas had this to say about “Meh”:

I fear for the future of the English language.”

Now a question: Do you think “Meh” will appear in the next Webster’s Dictionary?

© 2008 Laverne Daley

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4 Comments on ““Meh” — Another New Word to Use (or Not)”

  1. pochp says:

    I’d rather not.

  2. Peggy says:

    Where have I been? Haven’t heard of it.

  3. ldaley says:

    Nor had I, Peggy. But Goggle the word and you’ll see that hundreds of people have. Guess we’re just behind the times.

  4. ldaley says:

    I’d rather not, too, pochp. Thanks for commenting.

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